World War I Trench Maps

Ypres No Man's Land 1916 (Library and Archives Canada, NMC 21462)

Fine Books and Collections magazine has published an article by Jeffrey Murray, former archivist and author of Terra Nostra, about trench maps used by British forces in World War I.

In its day, the Great War was the largest survey and mapping operation undertaken in history. No previous military engagement had so thoroughly exploited their potential. Today, trench maps provide an important visual record of the conflict that cannot be duplicated from other sources and stand as a noble testament to the hardships experienced by frontline troops as they faced the horrors of the battlefield.

Maps were constantly being produced for artillery crews, who needed up-to-date information; the existing topographical maps were not necessarily up to the task. Thanks to Rebecca Barry for the tip. (Above: a blueprint map of No Man’s Land in the Ypres salient, produced by the 2nd Canadian Division in 1916; Library and Archives Canada, NMC 21462).